Detroit — The Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce has endorsed the Medicaid expansion proposed by Gov. Rick Snyder, despite opposition by many Republicans.
The chamber's Executive Board voted to back the expansion Wednesday, the same day a House appropriation subcommittee advanced a community health budget bill that did not include the $1.3 billion in federal money that would fully fund the program.
The Detroit Chamber's endorsement is likely to sway some votes among GOP lawmakers because Republicans are generally aligned with business interests. Other chambers have been slow to announce their positions as their members debate the issue.
"The Detroit Regional Chamber supports the Governor's plan and thinks it will lead to lower costs for businesses and lead to savings to the state's bottom line," said Jim Martinez, director of communications.
Snyder is among more than a half dozen Republican governors who have come out in support of the expansion, which is a key component of the Affordable Care Act. If approved by lawmakers, the income limit for Medicaid would be raised to 135 percent of the poverty line, adding about 450,000 more people to Michigan Medicaid rolls.
The governors, including Snyder, have said the expansion is too good a deal to pass up. The federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost until 2016. The states will then gradually start to contribute until reaching a maximum contribution of 10 percent in 2020.
Under Snyder's proposal, the state would set aside money it saves due to the expansion and use that to pay the 10 percent once charges kick in. In a statement expressing its support of Snyder's plan, the chamber said it specifically endorses that part of Snyder's proposal.
Some opponents, who include many tea party supporters, say they don't trust the federal government to follow through on its promises to pay for the expansion. Others are opposed to the federal Affordable Care Act, and say voting in favor of the expansion would be tantamount to an endorsement.